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Surgery

Surgery is one of the main treatments for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer. You might also have surgery to relieve symptoms, such as difficulty eating.

About surgery

You are likely to have a team of specialist surgeons and other health professionals looking after you. You will meet some of these before your operation and have tests and assessments. 

Types of surgery

The type of surgery you have depends on the size and location of your cancer. 

Reconstruction surgery

When the surgeon removes a large area of tissue, they rebuild (reconstruct) the area. 

Surgery to help you breathe or eat

Cancers of the mouth and oropharynx can sometimes block a part of your throat, which may affect your breathing and eating. Find out how surgery can help. 

Surgery to remove the lymph nodes in your neck

Cancers of the mouth and oropharynx can spread to lymph nodes in your neck.  

Preparing for your surgery

Read about what happens before surgery, the people you’ll meet and the exercises you need to do.

Going into hospital

Knowing what to expect can help you prepare and make it less stressful.

On the day

Find out what happens on the day of surgery, including about having an anaesthetic.

After surgery

How you feel after your operation depends on the type of surgery. Find out more about how you might feel and possible problems.

Last reviewed: 
31 May 2018

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